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Journal of Crohn's and Colitis: 9 (4)

Editor-in-Chief

Laurence J. Egan, Ireland

Associate Editors

Maria T. Abreu, USAShomron Ben-Horin, IsraelSilvio Danese, ItalyPeter Lakatos, HungaryMiles Parkes, UKGijs van den Brink, NLSéverine Vermeire, Belgium

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When do we dare to stop biological or immunomodulatory therapy for Crohn's disease? Results of a multidisciplinary European expert panel

Valerie Pittet , Florian Froehlich , Michel H. Maillard , Christian Mottet , Jean-Jacques Gonvers , Christian Felley , John-Paul Vader , Bernard Burnand , Pierre Michetti , Alain Schoepfer , the EPACT-II Update Panellists
DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.crohns.2013.04.013 820-826 First published online: 1 November 2013

Abstract

Background: Safety and economic issues have increasingly raised concerns about the long term use of immunomodulators or biologics as maintenance therapies for Crohn's disease (CD). Despite emerging evidence suggesting that stopping therapy might be an option for low risk patients, criteria identifying target groups for this strategy are missing, and there is a lack of recommendations regarding this question.

Methods: Multidisciplinary European expert panel (EPACT-II Update) rated the appropriateness of stopping therapy in CD patients in remission. We used the RAND/UCLA Appropriateness Method, and included the following variables: presence of clinical and/or endoscopic remission, CRP level, fecal calprotectin level, prior surgery for CD, and duration of remission (1, 2 or 4 years).

Results: Before considering withdrawing therapy, the prerequisites of a C-reactive protein (CRP) and fecal calprotectin measurement were rated as “appropriate” by the panellists, whereas a radiological evaluation was considered as being of “uncertain” appropriateness. Ileo-colonoscopy was considered appropriate 1 year after surgery or after 4 years in the absence of prior surgery. Stopping azathioprine, 6-mercaptopurine or methotrexate mono-therapy was judged appropriate after 4 years of clinical remission. Withdrawing anti-TNF mono-therapy was judged appropriate after 2 years in case of clinical and endoscopic remission, and after 4 years of clinical remission. In case of combined therapy, anti-TNF withdrawal, while continuing the immunomodulator, was considered appropriate after two years of clinical remission.

Conclusion: A multidisciplinary European expert panel proposed for the first time treatment stopping rules for patients in clinical and/or endoscopic remission, with normal CRP and fecal calprotectin levels.

Keywords
  • Crohn's disease
  • Azathioprine
  • Anti-TNF drugs
  • Treatment cessation
  • Treatment stopping rules
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